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Chuy, my Westie, just turned 1 this past Monday, so it's now time to neuter him. I scheduled his appointment for next week with my vet who I love. She uses sevoflurane and does the laser neutering, which not many vets in my area offer.

Now, Chuy used to be very good about getting his nails trimmed as a puppy. Gradually as he grew older, he started getting a little less tolerant. Twice, I quicked his nails and he freaked out. I use a Dremel but he gets very fidgety before I can really make a dent in trimming them down. Basically, his nails aren't LONG but I still hear them click on the floor.

I read that some owners opt to have their dogs' nails trimmed very short while they are already under anesthesia for routine spay/neuter. That way, the painful part is done while the dog is knocked out, and after he wakes up he will already be on pain meds so that can help with any soreness. So long as the vet trims them way back, the quicks will recede and they will be easier to maintain from then on.

I emailed my vet about having this done and she said:

We trim nails as close to the quick as possible but do not cut deep into the quick, as this contributes to a painful recovery. If his quicks are long, then he will need frequent nail trims to get the quicks shorter. You can bring him here for that, or bring him to a local groomer that you trust. This does not require sedation or anesthesia, just an experienced dog-groomer.

Original message:
Can I request to have his nails clipped very short to recede the quick, so that they will be easier to maintain from there? This will (hopefully) be the only time he will be under anesthesia for a very long time, so I'd like to get all the nails way down in this one go. Thanks so much.
Is it cruel of me to have asked for this to be done? Should I press the issue further? I already know that I can slowly have the quick recede by weekly trimming. I'm just afraid it will be stressful and potentially painful for Chuy and I'd rather have it all done quickly while he's already knocked out.
 

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Imo, it would be less painful to trim them over many weeks, without getting into the quick. Work with him everyday to reduce his stress, rather than have him freak out for nail trims.
The nails will still have to be regularly maintained, even if you were to cut them back into the quick. So training, and not causing pain would benefit the dog.
 

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I wouldn't press the issue with your vet, who has already told you (in a nice way) that they don't do this procedure because it's unnecessarily painful. Especially since your dog's nails aren't very long, but just clicking, I don't think it's a good idea.

Have you tried bringing your dog to a groomer for nail trims? I find an experienced groomer can get the nails a lot shorter than I dare.
 

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I'm not sure it's cruel but don't do it. Trim them weekly, easier on your dog, less painful, too.
 

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You can countercondition and desensitize chuy to nail trims. kikopup on youtube has some wonderful videos on using clicker training for this. it's not difficult to do, you just need patience and a bunch of treats.

I know what you mean about the long nails, though. Kabota still has very long quicks. I doubt his nails were ever trimmed in 3 years. Listening to his nails click on the hardwood, I feel like he might be hurting and just not showing it, but the groomer and the vet say he's okay. We're just doing frequent trims. It's slow work, but we're getting there.
 

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I have personally experienced getting very long quicks to recede over a period of months. Honestly, I think that is what you should do as well, because having your vet cut them short for you will do nothing to help in the long term. The only way you're going to be able to keep his nails maintained is by desensitizing him to trimmings and doing it often. If you never get that figured out it will be a lifelong problem and I certainly wouldn't want him to have to go through having his quicks cut on multiple occasions.

To give you an idea of what I was working with:


This one was taken probably a month or two later, after I started dremeling (getting them very short) every 2-3 days.


A couple years later now they don't even touch the ground and they are easy to maintain because all those frequent trimmings really desensitized her. She still doesn't like it, but she knows if she just sits still for me it will be over faster and then we can go play.
 

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I don't think it's necessarily cruel, but it doesn't really solve the problem, and in any case your vet has already said she doesn't do it. In the long run I agree with others that it's better to desensitize and slowly work the quicks back.
 

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I say dremel one foot per day until you've done all four. Praise and treat heavily with a high value treat that they only get when you dremel their nails. Follow with play time. Use your calendar to keep track of which foot you've done that day. Repeat every week. That way he gets used to it quicker since he'll be getting yummy treats and having a paw dremeled 4 days a week, every week for a while. Then just dremel as necessary.
 

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What if you cut to the quick AND work on conditioning stuff afterwords? Much faster and easier that way, right?

About whether it's cruel or not... the dog just had its nuts cut off. I think cutting the quick is certainly less "cruel".
 

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What if you cut to the quick AND work on conditioning stuff afterwords? Much faster and easier that way, right?

About whether it's cruel or not... the dog just had its nuts cut off. I think cutting the quick is certainly less "cruel".
I think it'd be painful, even with pain killers - when I cut my nails too short they hurt for days until it grows back! I wouldn't want to do that to my dog whether they were sedated or not!

Everyone who posted about desensitizing nail trimming is absolutely right. In the long run, this is the best way to have short nails without spending $10-15 at the groomers every week to keep them short.
 

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About whether it's cruel or not... the dog just had its nuts cut off. I think cutting the quick is certainly less "cruel".
He doesn't walk on where his nuts used to be. . .:p.

I think it'd be painful, even with pain killers - when I cut my nails too short they hurt for days until it grows back! I wouldn't want to do that to my dog whether they were sedated or not!
Excatly what I was going to say. Ouch!

If you really can't get him to accept the home nail trims, suck it up and take him to the groomer twice a month. They have ways :D.
 

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He doesn't walk on where his nuts used to be. . .:p.

Yeah, who knows. I think it probably scabs over pretty quickly and if it's short enough, it doesn't hit the ground anyways. When I have accidentally cut my dog's quick before, it usually stops bleeding in less than a minute.
 

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Yeah, who knows. I think it probably scabs over pretty quickly and if it's short enough, it doesn't hit the ground anyways. When I have accidentally cut my dog's quick before, it usually stops bleeding in less than a minute.
They cauterize it, but it still hurts and could theoretically get infected. I think this would fall under the category of "surgery for convenience," almost a cosmetic procedure. It's a painful procedure done for the convenience of the owner (and without the public policy implications of neutering), when the owner could fairly easily use a totally non-painful alternative. I don't see the argument in favor of cutting/cauterizing in this situation at all. It would be different if, for example, the dog's nails were so long and neglected that it was malforming his feet or causing problems with his gait or something, but the OP said his nails weren't that long, they were only long enough to click on the floor. Not worth it.
 

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I have done it, when I had no luck, even with twice weekly dremeling, getting the quicks to recede. We already had a nail routine. But, I work at a vet and had free reign over my own dog's feet to do what I wanted with them. (we don't go around quicking client dogs' toes unless asked) As a note, it did work as planned and he had nice looking feet now. He never batted an eye upon waking and never appeared sore (was jumping, running, etc).

I'm sure being castrated is far more pain producing than a few quicked nails.
 

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Over the years, I have done it with rescues. You get them in and try to get them ready to move forward. They always have long nails. Or it seems that way. Most have never had their nails done. So if we are going to do a neuter spay we often have the dog quicked. I have even taken dogs in specifically to have their nails quicked.


It is not a big deal. Never had a dog seem like it was bothered by it.
 

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They cauterize it, but it still hurts and could theoretically get infected. I think this would fall under the category of "surgery for convenience," almost a cosmetic procedure. It's a painful procedure done for the convenience of the owner (and without the public policy implications of neutering), when the owner could fairly easily use a totally non-painful alternative. I don't see the argument in favor of cutting/cauterizing in this situation at all. It would be different if, for example, the dog's nails were so long and neglected that it was malforming his feet or causing problems with his gait or something, but the OP said his nails weren't that long, they were only long enough to click on the floor. Not worth it.
Pretty damning statements..... Try getting a dog that has never had its nails done prepped.

How many dogs have you been around after they were quicked? How do you know it hurts them afterwards? From personal observation?

Because I sure have not seen a sore foot from a quicking procedure.

Funny people have no issue doing potentially major surgery (neuters and spays) for PURELY convenience reasons. But want to tippy toe around a simple procedure with no real risk and no lasting pain.
 

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I thought I would stop by again to say I don't find anything ethically wrong with the procedure in general. I mostly just think in this particular case it would be treating a small symptom, but not the cause of the problem, especially since the dog's nails aren't out of control or anything. I guess it's a mute point for this specific situation, though, since the vet won't do it anyway.
 

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As insane as long nails drive ME, over time I've come to accept that nails don't have to be short. Jonas has perpetually long nails:



They're not horrendous, but they're not pristine and you can hear him clicking a bit on the floor. As long as they aren't impeding him I have let go of my crazy over it. I wouldn't have him quicked just for the sake of getting them super short. Elsa is still in the process of learning nail trims are OK and I'd rather just work at it and get as many as short as I can rather than in one super short cut while in surgery. The longer they are the more opportunities we have to work at nail trims to get them shorter and shorter, if that makes sense.
 

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The longer they are the more opportunities we have to work at nail trims to get them shorter and shorter, if that makes sense.
Yes it makes perfect sense and kind of what I meant although I didn't articulate it.

I don't think it's worse than Hitler or anything, and honestly I don't think I've ever seen a quicked or broken nail get infected, but it really doesn't solve the problem OR allow much opportunity to work on solving the actual problem of being unable to clip the nails (since now the dog has short nails with the quicks grown out to the ends).

And it's all moot anyway since the vet doesn't do it.
 

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Funny people have no issue doing potentially major surgery (neuters and spays) for PURELY convenience reasons. But want to tippy toe around a simple procedure with no real risk and no lasting pain.
Whoa, no need for anger. I specifically said if the nails were causing problems (i.e. had never been done) I think it would be OK. In this case, the dog's nails have been done and aren't even that long, so in THIS PARTICULAR SITUATION it would be unnecessary.

And BTW, while convenience is one reason for spaying/neutering, it's hardly the only one.
 
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